Robledo: Toying with Starting a One-Name Study

Robledo Coat of Arms - House of Names

I am seriously considering embarking upon a one-name study for my Robledo (maiden) surname, whether just on my own, or officially registered through the Guild of One-Name Studies.

About One-Name Studies

A one-name (or surname) study is a project researching all occurrences of a surname, as opposed to a particular pedigree (ancestors of one person) or descendency (descendants of one person or couple). Some ‘one-namers’ restrict their research geographically, perhaps to one country, but true one-namers collect all occurrences worldwide. (Guild of One-Name Studies)

I first heard of one-name studies last year at RootsTech, from my then-new British genea-friend Amelia Bennett (@MiaB2012). When she explained it, I immediately dismissed it thinking that I would rather spend what little research time I have focusing on my ancestors. But when I saw an introductory class offered at this year’s RootsTech, taught by Tessa Keough (@TessaKeough), my curiosity got the better of me. The session was definitely worth my time!

Robledo Brick Wall

I have written before about the enormous brick wall I face with my Robledo line.

Jose RobledoMy oldest known Robledo ancestor is my paternal great grandfather Jose “Joe” Robledo (1875-1937). Jose (also known as Joe and Joseph) is the furthest back I have been able to go on this line for over 15 years. Dad’s family simply knows nothing about this patriarch who brought his wife and first two children to the United States in the 1910s, after the family lost everything during the Mexican Revolution. Joe has one child left alive, but none of his living grandchildren were born before Joe died in 1937. None of them know the names of Joe’s parents, where he was born (we assume in the state of San Luis Potosi, Mexico, like his wife), or the names of any possible siblings. His wife died in 1974. The family has only one known photo of this patriarch. And what very little documentation I have found doesn’t shed light on these questions either.

In short, I have made no progress at all on my Robledo line. Nada. Ever.

What I find to be particularly frustrating is the total absence of anyone else researching Joe or his family history. For well over a decade, I have regularly trolled other public Ancestry Member Trees trying to identify another family historian who might offer forth any clues. While I find plenty of AMTs that connect to Joe’s wife’s family history (that prolific Nieto line of mine), I have not found a single other AMT that identifies Joe, except as a collateral relation to his wife’s family line. The launch in recent years of Family Search’s shared Family Tree held initial hope for me, but has not yet revealed any other genealogists contributing to Joe’s Family Tree.

In March 2014, I had Dad do an AncestryDNA autosomal test for me. I thought for sure this would connect me with other Robledo researchers to provide some new leads. Nope. Just more Nieto researchers (and some good leads on Dad’s mother’s line). There are quite a few suggested connections who either don’t have a tree posted at all, or who make their tree private (and haven’t responded to my requests to let me view their trees), so it is possible I might end up with some fellow Robledo researchers there. I find it incredibly frustrating that AncestryDNA doesn’t at least display a surnames list for DNA Matches who choose to keep their trees private. Just being able to view the surnames would help me dismiss a possible Match, or keep begging them for access. Immediately after RootsTech and FGS earlier this month, I transferred my raw AncestryDNA to Family Tree DNA, so I am hoping for some matches there (a computer glitch on their end has delayed processing my results).

The recent announcement at RootsTech that FamilySearch is finally going to index all of their Mexico records does hold some good promise for me.

Robledo Origins

Robledo is not an unusual surname, but neither is it the most common of Hispanic surnames (like Garcia, Sanches, Rodriguez, etc.). Other than my own siblings, I can only recall one other Robledo in my K-12 schools, despite growing up in heavily-Hispanic Santa Ana, Orange County, California. I have lived here in Orange County for all but a handful of years, and have never actually run into another Robledo.

Ancestry confirms what Dad always told me about the Robledo surname.

Robledo Name Meaning Spanish: habitational name from any of the numerous places named Robledo, from robledo ‘oak wood’, a derivative of roble ‘oak’. (Source: Dictionary of American Family Names ©2013, Oxford University Press).

House of Names of course claims a distinguished and rich history (don’t they always!).

The distinguished surname Robledo is a proud sign of a rich and ancient history. The original bearer of the name Robledo, which is a loal surname, once lived, held land, or was born in the beautiful region of Spain… The Robledo family originally lived in the village named Robles, which was located in the judicial district of Murias in the province of Leon. This place-name was originally derived from the Spanish word robles, which means oak, and it indicates that the originally [sic] bearer of this name resided near oak trees.

Spelling variations of this family name include: Robles, de Robles, Roble, Robleda, Robledo, de Robledo, Robledano, Robledillo, de Robledillo, Robreno [with a ~], Robreno, Robreda, de Robreda, Robredo, de Robredo, Robredillo and many more.

First found in Castile, in north central Spain.

Sadly, my Robledo surname doesn’t even warrant a Wikipedia page.

Leon Province, Spain. Wikimedia Commons.
Leon Province, Spain. Creative Commons licensed image from Wikimedia Commons.

Related Robledo Projects

I find no real surname projects mentioned on the web, or even a family association or Facebook Group. All I find are a few DNA projects, which I plan to join when I have the requisite Y-DNA test done on Dad or his uncle.

And of course, the trusty Robledo surname forum.

So, a one-name study can’t hurt, unless it diverts too much of my attention away from my regular research. But there seem to be so few people researching this surname, that at the very least, it will allow me to make a meaningful contribution to the genealogy community and to my Robledo surname group.